SEATTLE - Jose Lopez's drove in the go-ahead run in the sixth inning and Roy Corcoran got his first career save in the Seattle Mariners' 3-2 victory over Minnesota on Tuesday night, the fourth consecutive loss for the suddenly grinding Twins.
Minnesota fell to two games behind the first-place Chicago White Sox in the AL Central, its largest deficit since play began on July 27. The Twins are also 2 1/2 games behind Boston in the AL wild-card standings.
They are 2-4 on their 14-game road trip, an increasingly ominous trek prompted by the Republican National Convention coming to the Minneapolis-St. Paul area.
Ryan Rowland-Smith (3-2), a converted reliever and native of Australia allowed two runs and five hits in seven innings for his first win as a major league starter.
Corcoran pitched the final two scoreless innings for his first save in his 53rd career game. The AL's worst team won its third straight after eight losses in nine games.
Rowland-Smith stranded Twins at second and third in the third, and Justin Morneau at second base following a leadoff double in the fourth. He entered the sixth with a 2-0 lead, but the Twins tied the game on a double play grounder and a solo home run.
The home run was hit by 30-year-old Randy Ruiz. Hours after being named the International League Rookie of the Year, Ruiz flicked his bat at an 0-1 pitch that was low and away and sent it four rows into the right-field bleachers for his first career home run.
But then Adrian Beltre bailed out Rowland-Smith. The man who won Monday night's 11-inning game with a home run missed another one off Scott Baker (7-4) by about a foot off the top of the wall in the left-field corner leading off the bottom of the sixth. Raul Ibanez followed that double with a single before Lopez hit a sharp single to score Beltre to put Seattle ahead 3-2.
Seattle's first runs came in the second. Ibanez walked and Lopez doubled ahead of a two-run single by rookie Jeff Clement.
Baker allowed three runs and a season-high 10 hits in 6 2-3 innings, with three strikeouts and three walks.
Notes:@ Seattle manager Jim Riggleman said the much-awaited starting debut of converted reliever Brandon Morrow is scheduled to come during a series Sept. 5-7, against the New York Yankees. The fifth overall pick in 2006 is at Triple-A Tacoma making the conversion. ... Baker has one win in eight starts since the All-Star break. ... Newly minted gold medalist Sue Bird of the United States women's basketball team and the WNBA's Seattle Storm threw out the ceremonial first pitch.